Student and Teacher – All In One Day

A strangely wonderfully vibrant day. I’m on lunch break between my classes and wanted to post some thoughts while they were fresh in my mind.

Life Drawing was amusing and difficult at the same time. The normal instructor was away today and Werner filled in for him. Werner was late too and I started off with some gestures and seemed to hit a good stride with my line and shadow. Then, Werner came in and I felt like I was 19, back at Sheridan and useless all over again.

Werner Zimmerman was my Life Drawing instructor back at Sheridan and I’ve been conciously avoiding his classes when I drop into Life Drawing sessions here at Seneca. He knew that I was out of practice, but I was terrified that he’d see my new work and be displeased with it. Old habits die hard and Life Drawing was never a subject I felt strong about. He walked in today, called me ‘Professor Zubkavich’ and then dug in with critique on my stuff. It was embarassing and nerve wracking but good as well and reminded me of how far I still have to go with my artwork. Once my current slate of projects dies down I have to start coming to some extra evening Life Drawing sessions and kick it up a notch. I see improved gesture in my work and that’s good, but there’s always more to learn. I’ll post the best pics of the day late tonight when I get a chance to scan them in.

I left Life Drawing feeling odd… I know I’m a good instructor, but seeing my artwork under the microscope like that made me doubt my position here at the school a bit. After my Animation History lecture, that doubt was all washed away.

We did a full class analysis of the Iron Giant and it was a total joy. I’ve analyzed the film on my own, but never with an audience on the fly like this. Going over each scene, discussing the emotional beats, character connections, directing, compositions, color use, dramatic timing, use of sound and music… all of it. We kicked through it and the students had an absolute ball. By the end, the students clapped and cheered and several have already stopped me in the hall to let me know this was their favorite lecture all semester. Watching them really engage the film, understand it on a new level and leave the lecture hall so inspired was an incredible boost.

A great lecture is like a stand-up comedy act mixed with learning. Keeping the ‘audience’ engaged, interactive and teaching them at the same time is an ideal for me and I felt like I really hit that effortlessly today. It was great.

Now I’m heading into the afternoon history lecture on animation in the late 30’s. I don’t think it’ll be a knock-out like the morning class was, but I’m excited enough that I think it’ll be a little more electric than usual. This is why I love teaching.

Art post tonight… I’m off to class.

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